For U8 and Older, Keep Score & Give Coaching "Tips" After Each Practice Game

A "Soft" Coaching, Guided Instruction Approach

How to Get Your Players to Listen to You

Why Keeping Score in Practice Games is Important

How to Speed Up Learning so Players Improve Faster

For U4 and U6, Don't Keep Score - Just Have Fun

There are 2 reasons why you should try to keep score in every Practice Game and to play Practice games that involve keeping score as much as possible:

(1). Keeping score creates pressure for players to do an activity faster and better, so players learn how to perform an activity under pressure and at "Game-Speed", which is "Game-Realistic". Drills that don't involve keeping score are NOT Game-Realistic because there isn't pressure, they aren't at Game-Speed, and players aren't trying their hardest. Drills that don't involve pressure and that allow players to practice at less than their fastest speed are actually counterproductive, because they are training players to play slower than Game-Speed and without pressure. In most cases, which player will perform better in a real soccer match - the player who has trained without pressure and at a speed that is less that "Game-Speed", or the player who has trained under pressure and at "Game-Speed"? The answer is obvious. If your players practice at top speed, they are learning to "play fast" - if they practice slow, they are learning to play slow. Drills that don't involve competition and pressure aren't preparing your players for competition and pressure.

(2). Keeping score is a sort of diagnostic test that can show the coach where attention is needed. So, keeping score is critical for both the coach and for the players.

A good way to coach soccer skills (teach soccer skills) is by giving "tips" at the end of each soccer Practice Game. This is a "Guided Instruction" method of coaching and players will see immediate results if they follow the coach's tips in the next Practice Game. Players will see an immediate "Cause and Effect"-- the players who listen to the Coach will see immediate improvement and start to listen more carefully and want the coach's help. The players who listen to the coach will win more Practice Games than those who don't. The benefit is obvious - the more your players listen to you and do as you recommend, the faster they will improve, the more confidence they will have in you as a coach, and the more fun it will be for the players and for you:

A good way to give tips is by noticing what caused a player to have a low score. Another good way to give tips is by pointing out why the player with the highest score had the highest score. For example: In the Dribble Across a Square Practice Game, most players get a bad score in the Control Dribbling version of the game because they either don't keep the ball near their feet when in traffic, or because they kick the ball too far in front, lose control and can't make a turn. The players who win the game are those who keep the ball near their feet when in traffic, who look up while dribbling and make their turns. Teach your players by giving them "tips" that will help them improve their scores in the Practice Games. That is a "soft" coaching approach and a better and more fun way than "hard" coaching. If you use this "soft" coaching approach, it changes your role from a nagging coach to a teacher who is giving his players tips so the can improve. The reason it works is that when they are playing SoccerHelp Practice Games they will see IMMEDIATE results... so they are getting immediate feedback and seeing that your "tips" really work. Your players will see that the players who follow the coaches' tips win more games than those who don't... those who listen will win, and those who don't listen will lose. Examples of how to give "tips" are in the instructions for the Dribble Across a Square soccer practice game and the Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race soccer practice game